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Another 'please help me choose my bike'

ssdssd Posts: 8
edited February 2008 in MTB buying advice
I posted on here last week as I was deciding whether to buy a new bike or to upgrade - I've decided to buy a new bike :)

So I just wanted some thoughts and to narrow down my choices. I will try to test ride the stongest contenders. Some background:

I'm looking to buy a full suspension bike having ridden a GT Avalanche 1.0 hard tail for 2 yrs. As far as my riding style goes, I do a mixture of cross country, single track, fire roads, man made tracks (Lagan Wolftraxx, Marin Trail), Box Hill, Devils Punchbowl etc. I love rides in the Peak District too. My level of riding might be benchmarked by my ride at the Marin Trail this weekend - I found the climbs pretty tough, handled the downhill stuff OK and think I've done harder in that respect. It's probably this sort of riding that I'd be doing on average. So I think I'm quite an intermediate rider but hoping to improve much more.

Here are my initial choices:

Specialized FSR Stumpjumper
Specialized FSR Epic
Trek Fuel EX 9
Giant Trance (Don't know which one exactly - help!)

I'd prefer to keep weight down but not at the cost of choosing the wrong bike (my GT is much heavier than my girlfriend's Stumpjumper HT for example and has been a major source of frustration on steep climbs!). Budget is up to about £1700 but hopefully I can pick up 2007 models cheaper.

I'd be grateful for any help. I would prefer to stick to the list above unless you strongly recommend something else. It's a minefield trying to choose!



  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667

    Marin Rift Zone. Its designed for the uk and therefore has a higher bb and more clearance. Other American ones are better left over there.
  • zero303zero303 Posts: 1,162
    Epic is probably the fastest climber there but it's a very racy bike, probably not the best suited to everyday trail work and social pleasure riding.

    I'd save my pennies a bit longer (I almost did but actually but fell for the Orange 5 and wanted a bit more travel) and get a Cannondale Rush 4, recent test winner in their 120mm travel trail bikes test, very neutral feeling, pedals/climbs well, feels stable - a very glowing review in fact. Only downside is low BB height but it only takes a few mins riding to relearn what you can and can't ride through.

    Not ridden the Marin but they get good reviews and they look really good in the flesh - this is coming from the guy who thought they looked ugly when seeing them in the mags! lol
  • Trance Zero is around your budget, i have tried it and it seemed a good climber on a steep hill and all around good bike.
    Giant XTC 2.5 '08
    Felt Virtue 3 '10
    Giant Defy 2 '11
    Giant Terrago Disc '07 - Convereted for CX
    Fit Team Park Bmx '08
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    For the type of riding you describe, I'd rule the Epic out.

    The other three in your (very sensible) shortlist have all been significantly changed for 2008.

    Couple that with the fact that all offer good value in 2008 - particularly Spesh and Giant - and a 2007 model might not be the bargain in appears. But old-model Trances do seem to go particularly cheap - if you're a determined bargain hunter (like me).

    And you probably know this, but the Trance range is now split into Trance and Trance X - with 4in and 5in travel respectively.

    Tough choice, have you tried to get a ride on any of them?

    Oh, and don't worry about struggling uphill on the Marin Trail, it's an aboslute killer - my Anthem usually tears up hill but I struggled when I rode there last autumn too!
  • ssdssd Posts: 8
    Thanks for the replies. I haven't ridden any of them yet but will once I've narrowed it down to 2-3. The Marin sounds great but people seem to complain about the frame change from 2007 ... 5564.shtml
    So the 2006 model seems like the one that I want but a quick google reveals that available frame sizes may be an issue....

    The Giant seems good but not quite as well rated here ... 8628.shtml

    I know these reviews are just one source of info, the info I get here will be much more valuable as I have described my style of riding and I'll hopefully narrow it down to the most suited bikes.

    Has anyone got any more views on these bikes (or alternatives)?

  • SplasherSplasher Posts: 1,528
    There's a reason 2006 and 2007 Trances sell for a big discount - the frames are a pound and a half heavier. Buy a 2008 if you do decide to go Giant.
    "Internet Forums - an amazing world where outright falsehoods become cyber-facts with a few witty key taps and a carefully placed emoticon."
  • ssdssd Posts: 8
    Right, I'm set on the Marin Rift Zone 2006. Main reason is because the 2006 model is very well reviewed and that I should be able to get it at a good price being a 2006 bike. The only issue I have is that not many of people have got this bike in stock at test riding and selecting the right size will be a real pain. The frame option I have is 17.5" or 19". ... gains.html ... b58s1p1108

    It says on that site


    I know that ideally I need to get to one of these shops and try but I might have to take an educated guess because they aren't close by. I'm 5ft10"/11". Is it obvious which one is likely to be the better bet?

    Thanks again.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Its so hard to tell. Not many about because it is two seasons old now. If I had to take a guess, I'd err on the side of caution and get the 17.5. But you really are buying blind, you might not even like the way it rides.
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